River-born is a performance by four musicians – tabla, dulcimer, violin and guitar, and a projection of river footage and graphic novel illustration exploring the texture and movement of rivers, of spoken verse and the concept of the archetype. This extract is the Li Po chapter.
River-born takes as its starting place a piece of local history: Carl Jung’s 50th birthday in 1925 celebrated in Swanage, Dorset with a cigar and “an extra bottle of wine”. Jung once said that primordial images are “like a deeply graven river-bed in the psyche, in which the waters of life, instead of flowing along as before in a broad but shallow stream, suddenly swell into a mighty river”.
From this powerful metaphor, the Cabinet create a bridge spanning 8th century river poetry of Li Po, Ted Hughes’ 1983 book, “River” and the concept of the primordial image – or “archetype” developed by Jung in this period.
Accompanying the verse of Hughes is tabla, Li Po dulcimer and live foley and completing the piece we meet Jung in Swanage delivering his river-born metaphor with music from the Cabinet ensemble.
The UK premiere of River-Born took place above the River Bourne in the Bournemouth Bandstand as part of the opening night of Bournemouth Arts Festival by the Sea, Sat Sept 27th, 2014.